Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Tobin, George

TOBIN, GEORGE (1768–1838), rear-admiral, second son of James Tobin of Nevis in the West Indies, and elder brother of John Tobin [q. v.], was born at Salisbury on 13 Dec. 1768. He entered the navy in 1780 on board the Namur, in which he afterwards went out to the West Indies and was present in the action of 12 April 1782. After the peace he was for some time in the Bombay Castle, guardship at Plymouth, in the Leander on the Halifax station, in the Assistance; and from 1788 to 1790 he made a voyage in a ship of the East India Company. On his return he was borne for a few weeks in the Tremendous during the Spanish armament, and on 22 Nov. he was made a lieutenant. During 1791–3 he was in the Providence with Captain William Bligh [q. v.] in the voyage to Tahiti and the West Indies, and on his return to England learned that by his absence he had escaped (as he then considered it) being appointed third lieutenant of the Agamemnon with Captain Horatio (afterwards Viscount) Nelson [q. v.], who, through his wife, was connected with Tobin's family. It seemed to him a much better thing to be appointed second lieutenant of the Thetis frigate with Captain Alexander Cochrane [q. v.] In the Thetis he remained. Some four years later, 12 July 1797, Nelson wrote: ‘The time is past for doing anything for him. Had he been with me, he would long since have been a captain, and I should have liked it, as being most exceedingly pleased with him.’

Tobin was not made a commander till 12 July 1798. He was advanced to the rank of captain in the large promotion at the peace, 29 April 1802, and in September 1804 was appointed to the Northumberland, flagship of his old chief, Cochrane, off Ferrol and afterwards in the West Indies; in September 1805 he was moved into the Princess Charlotte, a 38-gun frigate, and in her, off Tobago, captured the French corvette Cyane after a very gallant resistance. After much convoy service Tobin, still in the same frigate (renamed Andromache in 1812), co-operated during 1813–14 with the army in the north of Spain and the west of France. In July 1814 the Andromache was paid off, and Tobin had no further service at sea. On 8 Dec. 1815 he was nominated a C.B., became a rear-admiral on 10 Jan. 1837, and died at Teignmouth on 10 April 1838. He married, in 1804, Dorothy, daughter of Captain Gordon Skelly of the navy, widow of Major William Duff of the 26th regiment, and by her had issue one son and one daughter.

[Marshall's Roy. Nav. Biogr. iv. (vol. ii. pt. ii.) 629; United Service Journal, June 1838; Gent. Mag. 1838, ii. 100.]

J. K. L.